New Paper: Community Weaving

Posted on September 8, 2006

[posted from Comm-Org]

[ed: please contact Cheryl at the address below if you are interested in reading her chapter.]

From: “Cheryl Honey”

I authored a chapter in the Change Handbook (2nd Ed.) entitled Community Weaving. I pioneered this approach over the past 14 years growing Family Support Networks in communities around the Pacific Northwest, Idaho and Colorado. I would really appreciate if those who were interested , would read the paper and write reviews that I could post on our website at http://www.communityweaving.org.

Your papers have inspired me over the years and I’ve learned so much about my work through your endeavors. Kent Roberts, Founder of the National Civility Center told me he had a discussion with Lynn Luckow who was (or is) the CEO of Jossey-Bass who is on a hiatus to explore the conditions and approaches that foster community. What was fascinating was there was much more talk than there was action. Community Weaving is an action plan that is being implemented by Community Weavers around the country.

Overview:
Community Weaving fosters a vibrant grassroots web, which builds and bridges social capital between individuals, among group members and across community systems (Figure 1). The result is an intricate patchwork of conscientious citizens functioning interdependently with one another and formal systems, in order to mend the tears in the social fabric caused by fragmentation and shifts in the cultural, economic and political climate. Given time, the beneficent presence and dynamic activity of Community Weaving changes the culture of community and transform lives.

Community Weavers are the key to building and bridging social capital to weave a grassroots web of support. This new web of volunteers provides a system of support to catch those falling through or out of formal systems. The skills and insights gleaned from serving others raises social consciousness and reweaves the shredded fabric of community. Partnerships between grassroots and formal systems create opportunities for cooperation and teamwork. This interdependent web of relationships instigated by Community Weaving strengthens the social fabric of community and creates space for creativity, innovation, authenticity and living democracy.

The cohesiveness of the community is strengthened as formal systems and the grassroots function interdependently to solve problems impacting the health and welfare of communities. This fosters resiliency to enable individuals, groups, organizations and whole communities to thrive.

The web-based database developed by volunteers (BTW-Could use some beta testers) tracks data detailing the interconnections and interactions among participants. The Community Weavers document the innovations made to improve lives and conditions in the community, as well as the efforts to fill gaps. This information is exchanged among all Community Weavers, enables them to coordinate efforts and compensate for changes by tapping the creative potential of participants and empowering them to solve problems.

Here’s bio.
Cheryl Honey is the pioneer of Community Weaving practices and a Master Weaver. She founded the Family Support Network, Int’l, a non-profit organization in 1993 and has trained and certified over 400 Community Weavers and Family Advocates who are respected leaders and change agents in their communities. Cheryl graduated from Antioch University Seattle with B.A. in Liberal Arts. She received the Giraffe Award for sticking her neck out in 1996 and was presented with the Ambassador of Peace and Excellence in Leadership Awards from the International and Interreligious Federation for World Peace. Recently, Cheryl was honored as a Daily Points of Light for volunteerism. She currently serves as an Advisor to the Alliance for Human Empowerment. The ABCD Institute and Institute for Civil Society have recognized the Family Support Network model as an exemplary approach to capacity building. Community Weaving is featured in the Change Handbook (2nd Ed.) Cheryl is CEO of Excel Strategies, Inc. and consults with communities how to increase community capacity building through civic engagement and volunteerism.


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